Vietnam Veterans Day

Closing Thought–29Mar17

The Last Chopper Out!

Since the rest of the world has forgotten our contribution let me be the first to say thank you to all my comrades in Vietnam.  We are quickly losing our battle with time….but as long as I breath you will NOT be forgotten.

Most Americans are familiar with Veterans Day. Every November, we show our appreciation to everyone who ever enlisted in our armed forces: Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Guardsmen.

Scattered throughout the year, however, we honor certain groups of veterans who serviced our nation during particular conflicts. For example, we celebrate V-E Day and V-J Day on the anniversaries of the end of World War II combat operations in Europe and Japan. Veterans Day itself was once Armistice Day, marking the anniversary of the end of World War I.

On March 29, we recall the day in 1973 when the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam.

This date is generally considered the official end of the war.

Yet, when we consider the entirety of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, it was not until May of 1975 that U.S. military presence completely ended. Likewise, although the war is generally considered to have “begun” with the deployment of full combat units in 1965, U.S. troops were in country, in harm’s way, as early as 1955.

The U.S. Department of Defense, in its official observance of the 50th anniversary of the war, has declared the Vietnam War Commemoration will recognize the period from Nov. 1, 1955, through May 15, 1975.

And for those that have never given my war much thought…….as per usual I offer a historical perspective…..

Although the Vietnamese had been rebelling against the French since their arrival in S.E. Asia, World War I was the initial catalyst for Vietnam’s independence. Vietnamese and other Indochinese troops, notably Cambodians, in the French colonial forces went to Europe and the Middle East in World War I to serve in both combat and support roles.

Source: The Unwinnable Vietnam War – Consortiumnews

To all Vietnam Veterans…..Thank you for your service and your sacrifice……all gave some and some gave all….you will always be in my memory…..Peace!

It’s Clean Coal–Again

Mr. Trump has signed yet another Executive Order (EO)….this time it effects the EPA regulations and as usual he uses an old stand by slogan…it will create jobs.

Once again we are told about the idea of “Clean Coal”……(if one believes this lie then one is a member of the “Ignorati”….clean coal…… it is a LIE!)

President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order to unwind many of the environmental rules put in place by President Obama. The big change is that he ordered a review of the Clean Power Plan, which was designed to curb emissions at coal-fired power plants. The president celebrated “the start of a new era” in energy production, while environmentalists called it both “dangerous” and “embarrassing.” A look at coverage:

  • Trump signed the “Energy Independence” executive order at the EPA while surrounded by coal miners. “Today I’m putting an end to the war on coal,” he declared. See coverage of the event at the Guardian.
  • The Clean Power Plan hadn’t actually taken effect yet because it had been held up in the courts, explains the New York Times in a primer.
  • Despite the move to ease up on coal regulations, the utility industry is expected to continue its shift toward natural gas, wind, and solar, reports the Wall Street Journal. It points out that US utilities generated more electricity last year from natural gas than coal, and that trend is expected to continue.
  • The AP takes a look at the effect on the coal industry and doesn’t see a quick turnaround in the cards. In terms of jobs, it notes that more efficient ways of extracting coal have reduced the need for miners.
  • Amplifying the point is a quote from Robert Murray, chief executive of coal giant Murray Energy. “These actions are vital to the American coal industry, to our survival, and to getting some of our coal families back to work,” he said of Trump’s action. But he added: “I really don’t know how far the coal industry can be brought back.” See the New York Times.
  • Trump’s move does not pull the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord, but it seriously undermines the promises made at the forum by President Obama. An NPR interview explains.
  • Not far enough? Conservative critics are unhappy Trump did not order the EPA to re-evaluate a 2009 “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gas threatens human welfare, notes Politico. A writer at Breitbart makes the case that EPA chief Scott Pruitt should resign over this.
  • A takeaway from a Washington Post analysis: “While Trump can unwind Obama’s climate legacy to some extent, the economic and political forces that have spurred those underlying shifts are largely beyond his control.”
  • Now comes the hard part, warns CNBC: Tuesday’s move provides a framework, but the White House must still come up with a detailed replacement for the Clean Power Plan.
  • One of the Obama orders being repealed directed federal agencies to coordinate and prepare for extreme weather, reports Bloomberg, which looks at the ramifications.

Back in 2009 this same argument was made and thanx to archives I found my post from those days……sadly the post was not that popular in ’09 maybe people are better awake these days……

We are hearing a lot in the media about the use of “clean coal”; even the president is pushing this concept…but people…that is all that it is…a concept…..and above all it is a lie…there is NO such thing as “clean coal”.

Source: The Lie Of “Clean Coal” – In Saner Thought

Some lies never change!  What was once old is new again.

This was a wasted use of mental energy…..and jobs?  This industry is embracing automation rapidly and to make it simple for my conserv friends…automation means less jobs……an easy equation even for a republican.

A BAT In The Belfry

Ever wonder where that saying came from?

Surprisingly, belfry does not come from bell, and early belfries did not contain bells at all. Belfry comes from berfrey, a medieval term for a wooden tower used in sieges. The structure could be rolled up to a fortification wall so that warriors hidden inside could storm the battlements. Over time, the term was applied to other types of shelters and towers, many of which had bells in them. Through association, people began spelling berfrey as bellfrey, then as belfrey and later belfry. On a more metaphorical note, someone who has “bats in the belfry” is crazy or eccentric. This phrase is responsible for the use of bats for “crazy” (“Are you completely bats?”) and the occasional use of belfry for “head” (“He’s not quite right in the belfry”).

Now that has absolutely nothing to do with the post what so ever…..but now you know.

Trump is about to start his assault on tax reform and one of those items we need to watch for is a “border tax”…….

With an ObamaCare alternative off the table for now, the White House is turning its attention to a new initiative, the first fundamental overhaul of the tax code in 30 years. Intense lobbying already is underway, with one of the most contentious issues the idea of a “border adjustment tax,” or BAT. Here’s where things stand:

  • The border tax would effectively levy a tax on products coming into the US and give tax breaks to companies sending products abroad. Proponents say it would protect US jobs, while opponents say it would raise prices of everyday goods for many Americans. See a primer at CNN.
  • As you might expect, companies such as Boeing, Merck, and Dow Chemical that export many of their products are big fans of the BAT, while heavy importers such as retailers Walmart and Target oppose it because they say it would drive up their prices, reports the Atlantic.
  • A huge ad war is unfolding. The National Retail Federation, for example, is running ads against the BAT, like this parody of an infomercial.
  • Paul Ryan and House Republican leaders are pushing for the BAT, but their Senate counterparts generally oppose it, reports the the Washington Post. Conservative Tom Cotton, for instance, called it “a theory wrapped in a speculation inside a guess,” in this op-ed at USA Today. In a possible hint of compromise, the Post notes that Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin has suggested that some products or industries could be exempt, without offering details.
  • President Trump himself sounded skeptical of the tax initially but might be warming up. “Anytime I hear border adjustment, I don’t love it,” he told the Wall Street Journal in January. In February, however, he told Reuters that it “could lead to a lot more jobs,” and on Sunday, Reince Priebus said Trump thought a border tax could even “the playing field between our country” and others, per Fox News.
  • The success of the BAT hinges on the economic premise that it would strengthen the US dollar, though there’s a fair amount of skepticism about that, notes Business Insider. A more in-depth analysis, which takes note of “significant confusion and uncertainty” about how exchange rates might respond, is at Real Clear Economics.
  • The European Union might sue if a border tax goes into effect, reports dw.com. Canada isn’t a fan, either, notes Fortune.
  • More broadly, the GOP’s failure to repeal ObamaCare complicates tax reform, because Republicans were relying on savings from the ACA’s elimination as part of their calculations. The New York Times delves into the thorny legislative consequences, which mean that Republicans might have to work more closely with Democrats.

Your produce is about to become more expensive….to start……

Let the debate begin!

Nunes The Word

The Soap Opera of the Week……..

Rep. Devin Nunes has made the headlines now for almost a week….it seems he cannot stop talking long enough to get his stories straight.

The story is that Nunes as head of the House intel committee had some info and instead to dealing with his committee he ran to Trump with the news.

The night before House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes dropped a bombshell Wednesday, claiming President Trump’s transition team communications had been “incidentally collected” by US intelligence agencies, he disappeared out of an Uber. He was in the car with a senior committee staffer when he got a communication on his phone and abruptly exited the vehicle without telling that staffer what he was doing or where he was going, multiple sources tell the Daily Beast. The following morning, he announced the press conference at which he made the surveillance claims; even his own aides didn’t know what he had planned for the press conference before it was held. Days later, the bizarre series of events is making headlines, and the Guardian reports that the incident could endanger the committee’s Trump-Russia inquiry.

After the press conference Wednesday, Nunes went to the White House to brief President Trump, after which Trump said he felt “somewhat” vindicated (since he claimed then-President Obama had wiretapped him during the election), even though Nunes still says Trump Tower was never wiretapped. Nunes has since apologized for going directly to Trump, a controversial move. The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, has referred to Nunes’ Uber departure as a “peculiar midnight run,” criticizing Nunes for “what appears to be a dead of night excursion.” He says Nunes, who was a member of the Trump transition team, is acting more like a “surrogate” for Trump than a leader of a bipartisan investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s team and Russia during the election. Nunes has since called off a second committee hearing on the matter that had been scheduled for Tuesday; the Guardian says the committee’s entire investigation may be “in danger of unraveling.”

After pissing up everything Nunes has tried to apologize……

The GOP chairman of the House panel exploring possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign apologized in private to his Democratic colleagues Thursday for his controversial decision to brief President Trump before them on new information, while CNN is out with a potentially big development. Here’s a look at developments:

  • “It was a judgment call on my part,” Rep. Devin Nunes told reporters Thursday about his decision to call a news conference, then visit the White House, to assert that communications of Trump associates may have been picked up “incidentally” in surveillance. Behind closed doors, he apologized to angry Democrats for the move, reports the Guardian.
  • The Lawfare blog does a deep dive into that Nunes news conference here, finding that what he’s alleging is a “bit opaque.”
  • The larger development comes via CNN, which reports that the FBI is investigating whether Trump associates communicated with Russian operatives during the campaign to coordinate the release of information hackers stole from Democrats. The agency is looking at travel, business, and phone records, and other accounts of meetings, per the report, which notes that the information is so far “not conclusive.” Read it in full here.
  • A post at Vox sees the CNN story as “stunning” if true because “it is the first such report suggesting that the FBI may have credible information—say, an account of a meeting where collusion was discussed, to give one wholly hypothetical example—of a possible Trump campaign-Russia plot against Hillary Clinton.” Read the assessment here.
  • When asked by Chuck Todd of NBC News whether the evidence of collusion was circumstantial, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence panel responded, “I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.” That’s further than Adam Schiff would go just last weekend, but things seem to have changed. “There is evidence that is not circumstantial and is very much worthy of an investigation,” Schiff said.
  • Schiff separately lashed out at Nunes for his Wednesday press conference, accusing him of being a “surrogate” of the president instead an independent panel chairman. The public sniping prompted Sen. John McCain to call for a special committee to step in to investigate the alleged Russian ties because the House panel has “lost the credibility to handle this alone,” per Politico.
  • Trump, meanwhile, tweets that news accounts of what’s going on are “totally biased and fake.”
  • Breitbart has a post with “four major holes” on the allegations Schiff made against Trump at FBI chief James Comey’s hearing, including his reliance on a “discredited” former British intelligence official. Read it here.

Nunes talks and crap falls out of his mouth…..

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer admitted on Monday that it was “possible” that someone at the White House leaked surveillance information to House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) that was later used to defend President Donald Trump’s wiretap allegations.

Nunes confirmed this week that he received intelligence about the alleged surveillance while visiting White House grounds. He has insisted, however, that White House staffers were not the source of the information.

But during his Monday press briefing, Spicer suddenly struck a very different tone. He said he’s not concerned about the possibility that someone in the White House leaked to House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). Nunes, in a clumsy attempt to validate Trump’s discredited claim that Obama wiretapped him in October, announced Wednesday that he had learned Trump transition officials had been incidentally and legally surveilled. After holding a news conference on the subject, he headed to the White House to brief Trump personally.

Nunes got the intel from the White House but they were not his source….really?

Come on people you gotta love this type of total bullshit…it is amusing and disturbing all at the same time.

All this could be put to bed when the hearing by the Intel Committee met on Tuesday….not happening!

– The White House says reports it tried to keep Sally Yates from testifying on ties between Russia and the Trump campaign are “100% false.” The Washington Post reported Tuesday that, according to documents it received, the White House was planning on claiming presidential communication privilege to prevent Yates from testifying on certain matters. The former acting attorney general was fired by Trump in January but had been deeply involved in the investigation of Michael Flynn before that. She was scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, but chairman Devin Nunes canceled that hearing, angering Democrats on the committee, CNN reports. According to NBC News, Nunes denies discussing Yates’ testimony with the White House.

And the plot thickens….tune in tomorrow…..I am sure that episode 5 will be as silly as the previous ones.

A New Cold War?

This subject was a hot item about a year ago…..and since has cooled down a bit….but with all the chest thumping in DC how long before we re-visit the concept?

The chances are looking good that it will be on again….US moving troops and equipment to the borders with Russia….Russian moving troops and rocket launchers within striking distance of Eastern Europe and all the rhetoric flying around the airwaves…..let’s not forget that China is slinking around the South China Sea……

As someone who is always on the lookout for the next conflict that could turn into out last conflict…….I say bend over and brace yourselves….

American-Russian relations are about to take a sharp turn for the worse.

President Donald Trump, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before him, hoped to “reset” Washington’s dismal relationship with Moscow, but that was always the longest of long shots. Vladimir Putin’s ideology and perceived national interests require the West as an enemy, and no matter how many times Trump tweets that he respects Putin’s “strength” and says it would be “a good thing” if we could get along with Russia and unite against ISIS, neither the Kremlin nor permanent Washington will allow it.

To be sure, Russians initially swooned when Trump beat Clinton in the election last November.

Source: Brace Yourself for a New Cold War | World Affairs Journal

I know to some this is a cliche of sorts….but do not count anything out….not now there is enough crap flying around that anything could happen.

Okay let us say that I am being a bit pessimistic…..and there is not a new Cold War….with all the isolationist sounds coming from Trump (none of which I believe by any stretch) but let us say that we do shrink back to our borders ….what will a post-American order look like?

It is obvious that that our world has pivoted from the immediate post-Cold War order. Gone is yesterday’s unipolar dispensation with the United States sitting unchallenged atop other powers. It still possesses immense conventional and unconventional strength, but it is hardly unrivaled in various geographic corners. The big questions remain: What kind of global order is unfolding and how does America respond?

President Donald J. Trump’s frequent voicing of isolationist sentiments during and after the election campaign has been blamed by some critics for this international transformation. Yet he alone is not responsible for the shift. The international order has been undergoing a transformation for years, and the signs of that change began to materialize soon after Barack Obama assumed office. Trump’s move into the White House is more a consequence of this altered global scene than its cause. Obama initiated America’s international pullback with the military withdrawal from Iraq and severe cutbacks in Afghanistan, as well as blinking when Syria crossed his red line while “leading from behind.”

Source: Post-American World Order | Hoover Institution

There you have two takes on the near future…..which will be the most likely?